Mars, Venus, and What's Life Got to Do With It

Presenter: Dirk Schulze-Makuch, University of Texas at El Paso
When: May 19, 2009 2:30PM PDT

Both Mars and Venus had large amounts of liquid water on their surface early in Solar System history. Life might have originated on them, and may still persist there despite extreme environmental conditions today. The case for life can be made the strongest for Mars. Life may even exist near the Martian surface by using an intracellular mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water enabling the putative microorganisms to take up water directly from the atmosphere and being freeze-resistant. Some of the Viking mission results support this hypothesis, but further testing with future missions is needed. In the last part of the talk I venture further out and discuss the possibility of more exotic life in places such as Titan, and wrestle with the question of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

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